CHAPTER SIX

Face was getting worried. They had been in Minneapolis for two days now, and there had been nothing for him. No phone calls, no messages, nothing. He knew he had to get out of here, alone, and then he could find him. But they had taken shifts. Nothing said, nothing arranged in the open, of course. But anytime he 'happened' to be awake in the middle of the night, someone else was also having trouble sleeping. It was maddening. Frustrating. Infuriating.

They had met with Stockwell shortly after arriving here. As Hannibal had said, they were given very little information other than what they had already deduced. The files contained, not names or locations, but financial information. The little trick with Stockwell's bank had only been the tip of the iceberg. How these files had come to be, and how their "eastern neighbor" had come to possess it, was not disclosed. All that mattered was that they get this information back before any further damage was done.

Face had smiled to himself as he listened to Stockwell describe the type of information the files contained. It was exactly the type of information he would have gone after. And he would have known exactly how to use it, too.

Bravo, my friend. Bravo.

But that only added to the frustration level now. He knew what the plan was. And he knew that no matter what the Team did, or what Stockwell tried, it wouldn't end until every piece of paper in those files had been exposed. And Face wanted in. He wanted in so badly he could taste it. He thought about what these people had done to him, to them, to how many others, and he felt the anger grow inside. Barish was beyond him now; but the people that worked with him, the people that financed him, they weren't. They could still be brought to their knees. And Stockwell. Who'd turned Face over to them like a piece of meat.

Stockwell was very much within reach. That was only a matter of time. It always had been...


*****

He stopped at the phone booth. This would be a bit trickier. He was through messing with Bellows. Or Carla. He was making this call directly to Stockwell. Much more difficult, as he didn't have the right phone number. He would have to take the time to work his way through the security maze. He could just tell them who he was, what he wanted, but that would just cut his timing down even closer. So he had to do this the hard way.

He smiled. Sometimes the hard way was just more fun...

The first number belonged to Carla's assistant. He felt sorry for her. To have to kowtow to that bitch, day in and day out. But she was easy to manipulate, also. Too used to following orders without question. All he had to do was give her the code word, the same code word he'd used to get Carla's direct line. Again, not so easy this time, as he was working his way up the ladder. But it got him to the next level.

This time a man. Not so easily persuaded. Higher level of security, training. But the code word worked there, too. Now it got tricky. He had no 'in' at the next level. He would have to give them something, identify himself enough so he would be put through. Once he did that, the seconds started ticking off. And Stockwell would keep him going as long as possible.

"I need to speak with General Hunt Stockwell."

"Name?"

"No name. Just tell him I'm a friend of Mr. Bellows."

"Mr. Bellows?"

"You heard me. Stall and I'll hang up."

"Yessir." He was put on hold. He checked his watch. If he was lucky, Minneapolis didn't have the newer phone systems, which meant he'd have fifteen, maybe twenty minutes before Stockwell's people would be here. If he wasn't lucky, maybe ten.

"Stockwell here."

"Hey, Hunt. Nice to put a voice to the name, guy. I'm going to make this short and sweet. You already know what I can do."

"What do you want?"

"Ha, that's funny. Let me give you the list. And the deadlines. If they aren't met, there's going to be a lot of paperwork flowing. Get my drift, General?"

"Let's have it."

Three cars came screeching around the corner some seven minutes after Stockwell picked up the line. They found the phone booth, the receiver still swinging wildly...


*****

Stockwell called that afternoon. Their thief, according to the general, had made his first mistake. He'd given them a list of demands, and Stockwell knew from that what papers would be going where, and when. All the team had to do was make sure the thief had no opportunity to turn over the papers.

Right. Piece of cake...

After hanging up with the general, Hannibal called his men together and began planning. He wanted to get this right the first time, and it wasn't going to be easy. They knew the earliest any attempt would be made to hand over the information to the proper authorities. But this guy could take his time after that. It would mean possibly days of surveillance.

"Why wouldn't he just mail the stuff, Johnny?"

"He wants immediate gratification. And he's hands-on. He knows who has to get this information and how, in order to get the greatest attention. Going through the post office, hoping it gets there in one piece, doesn't get sloughed off to some assistant - no, he's going to turn this over in a way that will garner the most attention. Just like the first time. Within an hour of the first deadline being missed, the right guy at the Fed had the information in his hands. He'll do the same thing this time."

"Why do you think he's doing this, Hannibal?" Murdock was sitting on the couch, twirling his cap. His question was directed at Hannibal, but he was watching Face out of the corner of his eye.

"He's got a grudge. Against the government, against Stockwell, maybe just against the world in general. But he gets a thrill out of it. A big thrill."

"Kinda like the Jazz, Hannibal?" Murdock saw Face stiffen slightly at that.

"Yeah, in a perverted sort of way." Hannibal looked at Face when he replied. Saw just a momentary flicker of anger. Something ran through Hannibal's mind. There was something he was missing. Something he should have thought of but hadn't. Yet.

"Okay, then, let's drive over to the Senator's office and take a look around. We need to know that building like the back of our hand. And see what we can do to limit his options."

Without a word of discussion, the five men left the hotel and headed for their objective - the local office of a United States senator, who just happened to be in town during a recess. Even Hannibal had to admire this guy's timing.


*****

Face knew he was running out of time. He had to get out that night, one way or the other. The guys were planning on relaxing in the room that night, watching a couple tapes Murdock had picked up that morning. He'd liked the layout of the Senator's building. He had a lot of ideas about that, and knowing what Hannibal had planned was the icing on the cake. If he could get out of the room tonight, everything would work.

He finally decided there was only one way to do it. He didn't like to. Too...Stockwell. But then again, one had to fight fire with fire.

The second movie was just over half done when Murdock got up to refill everyone's drinks. Face offered to help and they moved into the kitchenette. Face hadn't missed the glance of warning Hannibal had given Murdock. Nor did he miss the frown on Murdock's face. A little dissension among the troops, Colonel? Good. He could work Murdock.

He deliberately created a diversion by dropping one of the glasses, and watched, amused, as Murdock made a show of cleaning up the broken glass, while surreptitiously keeping an eye on Face. He noted how Murdock relaxed when no attempt was made to doctor the drinks. The next step was a little trickier.

"Better add some ice to those, Murdock. You know how everybody will yell if they're not cold enough."

"Good idea, Face. Last thing I need is BA pounding on me before bed." Murdock laughed and grabbed the ice from the freezer. Face watched with satisfaction as the doctored ice went into the glasses.

He'd made up the ice tray that afternoon, right under Frankie's nose. There was a reason Face would have dumped that guy...


*****

The guys had all gone to bed almost immediately after the movie ended. Face had faked one swallow, and set the glass casually on the floor beside the couch. Funny thing about people. If he'd held a cigarette, people would notice if he didn't smoke it. If he held a glass, people would notice he wasn't drinking. No glass in hand, no notice given when he wasn't sipping along with them. So simple.

He waited a good half hour before venturing out. As expected, no one else was up. He figured he had three to four hours. If his instincts were right, he'd be back in half that time. Outside the hotel, he was able to grab a cab almost immediately. He'd liked that about Minneapolis. The city never went to bed.

It took less than twenty minutes. Another five minutes to find his way to the pavilion. He was careful as he marched along the pathways. The park was calm and peaceful during the day; there'd been a lot more action at night. And not nice action, either.

He saw him almost immediately, even though he sat in the shadows. For a moment he stopped, his heart pounding. This was it. He should have known long ago. He never should have tried to fit into that other world. He didn't fit there. Not any more. This was where he belonged. With the only other person who knew what he knew, thought as he thought, acted in total sync with him.

He stepped up to the pavilion steps. The other man stood, moved out of the shadows. They stood, facing each other, grinning from ear to ear.

"Hey, Randy."

"Hey, Sam."